As a proud supporter of our non-profit partner, Heroes for Healthcare, Premier Medical Staffing Services is always excited to share stories of the amazing things that happen when the military and nursing intersect. Our recent interview with David and Rebecca Goings, a dynamic husband and wife team, is a prime example of the ingenuity and hard work that results from a combination of these forces. Keep reading to find out how David’s military career and Rebecca’s nursing career launched a successful business, Goings Places LLC, that is now helping military families, travel nurses and so many others.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourselves. What are your professional backgrounds? When and how did you meet? How long have you been married?
Rebecca: David and I met 10 years ago through mutual friends, the stereotypical “eyes meeting from across a crowded room” type scene! We lost touch for a few years while David deployed overseas, and I began my journey through nursing school. Now, we’ve been married for three wonderfully exciting years. David has encouraged me my whole career, since I became a brand-new nurse to transitioning to critical care and then to travel nursing. David served seven years in the Army Infantry, eventually earning the rank of Captain, before he joined the world of real estate investing.
David: Like Becca said, we met 10 years ago while I was stationed at Fort Benning for my Infantry Officer training. I glanced at her once…looked away and then very obviously jerked my head immediately back for a double take! I was very happy I went out that day as I was very close to staying home. About four days following my graduation from Ranger School, I received orders to get to Fort Bliss within a week and deploy within 20 days as an Infantry Scout Platoon Leader, my dream job at the time. After the service, I got into real estate investing and have found both trades to be quite compatible…more on that later.
2. Rebecca, what initially attracted you to a career in healthcare? David, what made you want to serve our country in the military?
Rebecca: Honestly, it came down to my freshman year of college when I was trying to decide on a major! I have always been drawn to caring for people that needed compassion, warmth, love (even tough love) and wanted a career that would always provide a challenge. Nursing has been just that. I love what I get to do. I guess I’ve been a nurse at heart my whole life and never knew it until I was trying to pick a career.
David: I come from a line of Infantry Soldiers that served in many of our nation’s conflicts and I never planned to be the exception. As long as I can remember, I wanted to “do my time on the line,” which did not really prepare me for what to do following the Army! That was an exciting transition from the Army into Goings Places.
“I have always been drawn to caring for people that needed compassion, warmth, love (even tough love) and wanted a career that would always provide a challenge. Nursing has been just that.”
~ Rebecca Goings ~
3. Being a military spouse comes with a unique set of challenges and rewards. Rebecca, as a nurse and a military wife, what were some of the challenges you faced (either personally or professionally) as David pursued his military career?
Rebecca: The nursing profession has the blessing of being flexible as far as location. Nurses are needed everywhere. I’ve known quite a few Army-wife-nurses that have been able to adapt as soon as the orders come through. It definitely takes some strength, but it comes with the territory. It’s worth it to see your soldier accomplish their goals and still maintain yours. It’s a great pairing of professions.
4. Rebecca, what resources did you find most helpful as you navigated the complexities of being a nurse and a military wife?
Rebecca: Connect with your peers! I’ve met incredible women that have relocated their lives and careers in support of their soldiers. But they don’t stop there. The selflessly raise children, establish and maintain a new home, adapt their careers…I could go on and on. My point is, more than likely, y’all are going through the same experiences and struggles.
5. What was the catalyst for starting Goings Places, a lodging business that catered to military families and other guests?
Rebecca: I think it nicely feel into place as we discovered the world of vacation rentals. We learned more about travel nursing as I explored it, and we uncovered the needs of people traveling. It amazes us sometimes how life weaves together the things you need and the ways you can help others.
David: When I left the Army, I knew I wanted to start a business, but I was not certain what type. Real estate caught my eye and I “flipped” a house with a buddy, a great experience that got me hooked. I studied all I could about the trade and found a passion for providing value through deal creation and buying rental houses that would work for us while we slept. Eventually, this led to a passion to provide temporary lodging services to travelers coming to the Columbus, GA/Fort Benning area. At this point, my Army experience intersected with my business by providing private houses to families coming to watch their soldier graduate training. Given all the times my family and Rebecca came to visit me, we understood this need very well and knew exactly what to provide to make it a memorable stay. We have now hosted thousands of folks coming to town and we can’t wait to be a part of all our future guests’ trips. We just love sharing our passion, experiences and houses with travelers. It truly is a blessing.
6. How have your careers as a medical professional and a member of the military shaped the way you approach and manage Goings Places?
Rebecca: For me, I remember the excitement I personally felt when I was waiting to see David graduate or return home from training. It’s so wonderful to know we are part of hundreds of families’ memories like that. I keep in mind the trips these families are making are more than a reservation on our calendar. This is a proud mother seeing her son or daughter for the first time since leaving home. These are lifelong memories being built and my goal is for them to only focus on happiness, not the annoying details of traveling. Of course, our travel nurses are near and dear to us too! With all my travel experience, being able to provide a safe, comfortable, affordable space for our nurses after their long stint away from home is a must.
David: When I was an Executive Officer (XO) in charge of supply for a Rifle Company, I learned how to negotiate with other XO’s by trading and providing value to meet the needs of our larger unit. This mentality serves me to this day in any type of transaction or operation. Like my fellow Army Officers, we are all on the same team and must seek to meet the needs of others in order to achieve a mutually valuable end state. This is true for our guests, sellers, buyers, contractors and even competitors! Be a go giver, always.
7. In your opinion, what sets Goings Places apart from other lodging companies?
Rebecca: It’s difficult to be unbiased on this one! But truly, we genuinely care about the needs of our guests. I really want to know the reason behind their travels so we can be sure to make their stay seamless. And again, we luckily have an insight with a lot of our travelers from our own experience. I’m a bit sentimental, but we established our business in the town where we established our story too, Columbus, GA. We met here, got married here, started our careers here…From each home we created together to each local spot we recommend, it all has personal memories that make so much of our business more special to us. This insight influences our product and services. Just check out our hundreds of reviews!
David: Given our experience in both the military and travel nursing, it enabled us to provide exactly what our travelers want. Comfortable, safe, private, clean, convenient modern spaces that exceed their expectations upon arrival. The last piece was to make them affordable and after years of work, we have done just that for travelers to Columbus, GA. We just love the work.
“Given our experience in both the military and travel nursing, it enabled us to provide exactly what our travelers want. Comfortable, safe, private, clean, convenient modern spaces that exceed their expectations upon arrival.”
~ David Goings ~
8. Moving, whether its for a short or extended period of time is always stressful. As military families and traveling healthcare professionals look to make lodging accommodations, how can they ensure that they are working with an honest and reputable company? Are there any red flags that should be watched for?
Rebecca: I go straight to reviews. I know you can’t make everyone happy. There’s always that person that never can say anything nice but they’re usually a good indicator of how hosts handle conflicts or unexpected problems. Also, don’t be afraid to talk directly to the hosts. Connecting directly and talking about your concerns can cut out a lot of miscommunication.
David: Reviews all day! Check the general trend of their reviews on all the lodging websites and then search them outside those various platforms. As for red flags, always trust your gut. If it seems off, then it likely is. I have shown up to rentals before that did not exist. It was not a fun night in Rome, Italy but that is very rare. Like Becca said, kindly communicate all your concerns with the hosts directly so there are no disconnects in expectations. Lastly, I would recommend using a payment app or merchant service to provide deposits to hold a property ahead of time. This will provide another layer of protection in case things do not work out.
9. What has been the hardest and the most rewarding aspect of owning Goings Places?
Rebecca: This question makes me immediately remember our first month of running vacation rentals. We were relocating for my first travel assignment in a couple days. I started at 8 AM that coming Monday and we were up all night putting the final touches on two different houses because our first group of guests checked-in in TWO DAYS. We were exhausted. I remember around 3 AM we were perfecting the linens on all the beds (all I wanted to do was curl up in one and go to sleep) and we just kept encouraging each other not to panic. We kept telling ourselves that this phase will calm down. I remember finally cracking up laughing before passing out for a couple hours of sleep. Long story short…There’s still times of reacting to unforeseen issues but having fantastic team members in Goings Places now helps mitigate Murphy’s Law a lot!
David: The most challenging aspect of running a business for me is always competing with yourself. This internal conversation at times can get out of hand as I struggle to improve every minute detail. Luckily, my wife is good about bringing me back down to earth when this happens. It’s important to make time for yourself. When you run a business that you love as much as we do, it’s essential you don’t let it consume 100% of your life. This work/life balance is a struggle for any entrepreneur. As for the most rewarding aspect to owning a business, it’s hearing about the experiences from those that have worked with us or have been our guest. From the soldier that proposes to his fiancée in our home to the travel nurse that expresses such continued appreciation long after their stay, it’s this type of stuff that you can’t put a price on.
10. What advice would you give to fellow healthcare workers or members of the military that are contemplating starting their own business?
Rebecca: Build a team you trust absolutely. We could not live the life we’re living without the help of our family, friends, contractors, cleaners…the list goes on! We are so grateful to everyone that works with Goings Places. A good tea makes starting and running a business so much more do-able.
David: Do it! Don’t wait to long and get stuck in analysis paralysis. Put a manageable plan together that couples with your passion and take action! Time is the only thing we can’t get back. Once you act, it’s amazing the type of people that will show up in your life and the circumstances that will help you along the way. To those taking this plunge, I’ll end with some wise words from my father that have become a major part of our company’s core values:
“Always think well of yourself yet strive to do better. Never be mean or petty when dealing with others. Good luck.”
~ David Goings Sr. ~
If you’re coming to town or just want to check Goings Places out, you can get more information on our website, Facebook, Google or give us a call/text (334-408-1833) or email GoingsPlacesLLC@gmail.com.